Standing Out from the Crowd
Below are some writing
(and interviewing) techniques that help you stand out from the crowd. You want your application to be MEMORABLE.
Work from your life
- Draw on your personal life and experiences to
find truthful and unique examples, anecdotes, feelings, and turning points that you can
discuss with passion. Honesty and
sincerity come through in your writing.
Be who you are
- If you want to stand out, be who you
are. Don’t just say what you think the
selection committee wants to hear. Answer outside the box.
- Colorless neutrality and safe, cliché answers
do not make you memorable. Don’t try to hide who you are if you want to be
Know what makes you different
- How do you think you are special, unusual, or
distinctive as a person and/or student?
Try to create opportunities for these qualities to come through in the
- What anecdotes, accomplishments, or examples
can demonstrate how/why you are distinctive and worthy of support?
Begin well, end well
- Grab attention with your openings, and try to
have a neatly phrased and memorable ending, too.
- Telling the story of a pertinent, personal
experience is a great way to start an essay or an interview question
response. It helps you come up with a
unique answer with memorable, powerful images and ideas, and it is a great way
to catch the reviewers’ attention.
- Relevant stories, images, metaphors, analogies,
epiphanies, feelings — all of these are good. They give your answers power and
Tell the truth, then tell the moral of the story
- It can be an effective technique to recount a
personal story that does not necessarily show you in the best light IF
you use it as a springboard into showing what you have learned or how an
experience changed your direction and goals.
use this device only once within an application.)